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BC Election: BC Liberals most trusted to manage economy

According to a provincial survey of eligible voters in British Columbia, a majority of British Columbians consider the current state of the BC economy to be ‘good’ or ‘ok’, while 23% rated it as either ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’.

Only 23% believe the BC economy will get better in the next six months, while a slight majority believe that over the past year, the provincial economy has stayed the same.

When asked which provincial party they trust most to manage the provincial economy, 27% of respondents selected the BC Liberals, followed by the BC NDP (21%), BC Conservatives (6%), and BC Greens (3%).  Forty-three percent of respondents were unsure which party they trusted the most.

Note that this survey was conducted before Monday’s televised leadership debate.

Download detailed report and tables here

BC Liberals are the Most Trusted Party on the Economy

When asked which political party respondents trust most to manage the economy, 27% selected the BC Liberals, followed by the BC NDP at 21%.  Of note, over four in ten respondents (43%) said they were unsure which party would be best at managing the economy.

“At lot of the back and forth during the leaders debate and throughout the campaign has been about who is best to manage BC’s economy,” said Abacus Data CEO David Coletto.  “Although the BC Liberals have an advantage in this area, many voters aren’t sure.  There’s an opportunity here for the BC Liberals to contrast their plan with that of Adrian Dix in the final days of the campaign.”

Variation in who is most trusted on managing the economy was similar to vote intention.  Every demographic group, except for women and those aged 45 to 59, were more likely to select the BC Liberals than any other party.  Men in particularly were most likely to say they trust the BC Liberals the most in managing the economy (Men: 31% BCLP, 20% BCNDP, 6% BCCP, 5% BCGP).

“The BC Liberals have effectively defined their brand around economic management, since their own supporters are more likely to select the party they are going to vote for as most trusted on the economy than supporters of other parties,” said Coletto.

Current Economic Evaluations: Not Great, but not Bad

Eligible voters in British Columbia hold mixed views on the current state of the BC economy.  Overall, only 3% of respondents rated the current economy as ‘very good’ while another 23% rated the provincial economy as ‘good’.  The plurality of respondents believed the economy was ‘ok’ (48%) while another 26% rated it as either ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’.

Not surprisingly, those respondents who planned to vote for the incumbent BC Liberals were more likely to rate the economy as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ (39%) while NDP supporters were most likely to rate it as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ (33%).

Looking at the data another way, among those who rated the current BC economy as good or very good, 49% said they plan to vote BC Liberal compared to 31% who plan to vote BC NDP.  As an individual’s current economic evaluation worsens, so too does the likelihood that he or she will vote BC Liberal.  Economic evaluations are strongly related to vote intention in this campaign.

Future Economic Prospects

Not only are British Columbians’ current economic evaluations mixed, but most believe that in the next six months, the provincial economy will remain about the same.

Six in ten respondents (59%) believed the B.C. economy will stay the same in the next six months, compared with 23% who believed it would get better and 18% who believed it would get worse.

Retrospective Economic Evaluations

Lastly, we asked respondents whether the B.C. economy had improved, stayed the same, or worsened in the past year.

Overall, 51% of respondents believed that the provincial economy had stayed the same while 32% believed it worsened and only 16% believed it has improved.

BC NDP supporters were most likely to believe that the economy had worsened (43%) while BC Liberal supporters were most likely to believe that the economy in B.C. had improved.

“In making the argument that British Columbians should stay the course and re-elected their government, the BC Liberals and Christy Clark are contrasting their economic plan with that of Adrian Dix and the BC NDP,” said Coletto.

“One problem with that strategy is that few voters think the economy has improved much in the past year and few think things will improve in the next six months.  What Clark and the Liberals are saying is that things would be so much worse under the NDP.  Before the leaders debate, not enough voters were buying that argument.  We will have to see if it makes a difference in the final days of the campaign”

Methodology

The survey was conducted online with 1,042 British Columbians eligible to vote in the 2013 provincial election using an internet survey programmed and collected by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a panel of over 500,000 Canadians.  The survey was completed from April 23 to 26, 2013.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated.   The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 1,044 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched British Columbia’s population according to age, gender, education level, and region.

The survey was commissioned by the Sun News Network.

David Coletto is CEO of Abacus Data and leads its Public Affairs research practice. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.

Contact David Coletto:

T: 613-232-2806 x. 248

E: david@abacusdata.ca

W: http://www.abacusdata.ca

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